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How Can You Tell If You Have A Brain Tumor

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What Are Brain Tumors

Signs and Symptoms of a Brain Tumor | Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

A tumor in the brain isnt like tumors in other parts of your body. It has limited room for growth because of the skull. This means that a growing tumor can squeeze vital parts of the brain and lead to serious health problems. Learning about the possible symptoms of brain tumors can help you know when to tell a doctor about them.

Causes Of Malignant Brain Tumours

Most malignant brain tumours are caused by a cancer that started somewhere else in the body and spread to the brain, through the bloodstream. These are known as secondary tumours.

  • von Hippel-Lindau syndrome
  • Gorlin syndrome

Unlike most brain tumours, tumours associated with these conditions tend to develop in childhood or early adulthood.

Types Of Brain Tumour

There are many different types of brain tumour. They are often named after the cell they develop from or the part of the brain they start in. More than half of primary brain tumours are gliomas.

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A brain tumours can be:

  • low-grade not cancer, sometimes called a benign tumour
  • high-grade cancer, also called a malignant tumour.

A low-grade brain tumour usually grows slowly and may not cause symptoms for a long time. A high-grade brain tumour grows faster than a low-grade tumour.

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Surgical Or Open Biopsy

If imaging tests show the tumor can likely be treated with surgery, the neurosurgeon may not do a needle biopsy. Instead, he or she may do an operation called a craniotomy to remove all or most of the tumor.

For a preliminary diagnosis, small samples of the tumor are looked at right away by the pathologist while the patient is still in the operating room. This can help guide treatment, including whether further surgery should be done at that time. A final diagnosis is made within a few days in most cases.

You can read more about the kinds of tests done on biopsy or tissue samples in Testing Biopsy and Cytology Specimens for Cancer.

Symptoms Of A Brain Tumour

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The symptoms of a brain tumour vary depending on the exact part of the brain affected.

Common symptoms include:

  • persistently feeling sick , being sick and drowsiness
  • mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality
  • progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
  • vision or speech problems

Sometimes you may not have any symptoms to begin with, or they may develop very slowly over time.

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When To Seek Care

If you think you might have a brain tumor, keep a diary of whats going on. Be sure to include your symptoms, how often they happen and when. Its very likely that you dont have a brain tumor, but any worrisome neurological symptoms should always be checked out, says Dr. Danish.

Regardless of the rarity of brain tumors, it is important to recognize the symptoms and see a doctor if you think anythings off. Signs of a tumor vary, depending on the tumors location and size, and the early symptoms can be obscure, Dr. Danish says. But the quicker we find a tumor and start treatment, the better your outcome will be, so wed always rather you come in if you think you may have a tumor, rather than brush it off.

Can You Have A Brain Tumor For Years Without Knowing

Because different areas of the brain control different functions of the body, where the tumor lies affects the symptoms you get. Some tumors have no symptoms until they re large and then cause a serious, rapid decline in health. Other tumors may have symptoms that develop slowly.

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> > > Breaking: Bald Guy Cuts Off Scalp Skin And Fixes Hair Loss

Besides medications, the treatment for hair loss can also include a hair transplant. In this procedure, small pieces of the scalp containing hair follicles are transferred to the bald areas. The surgery can be risky because it involves the usual risks of surgery, including shock and pain. Furthermore, it is expensive and is often not covered by insurance. But if you dont want to live with a bald area thats affecting your confidence and your appearance, hair transplant surgery may be the right option.

If the baldness is caused by a fungal infection, you can consider undergoing a hair transplant. In this procedure, tiny pieces of scalp are removed and moved to the bald spots. Despite the risks, this procedure is highly effective and is often covered by health insurance plans. A hair transplant can cost thousands of dollars, and you will most likely need to pay a large part of it out of pocket. The only downside to hair transplant surgery is the high cost.

Although alopecia is an embarrassing problem for many people, it can also be caused by trauma. People who undergo painful procedures on their hair may be at risk for traumatizing alopecia. This condition often results in thinning or falling hair. In some cases, the scalp becomes red and the scalp can even become inflamed. Antibiotics and antimalarial drugs may also be prescribed to help treat this disorder.

What Is A Primary Brain Tumour

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A primary brain tumour is a tumour that starts in the brain.

The brain manages how we think, feel, learn and move. It also controls other important things in the body, such as breathing and heart rate. The brain is protected by the skull.

We have separate information about tumours that start somewhere else in the body and spread to the brain. These are called secondary brain tumours or brain metastases.

Brain tumours can also affect children. If you need information about brain tumours in children, you can contact the Childrens Cancer and Leukaemia Group.

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Should You Ask For A Second Opinion Before You Start Treatment For A Brain Tumor

Before starting treatment, you might want a second opinion about your diagnosis and treatment plan. Some people worry that the doctor will be offended if they ask for a second opinion. Usually the opposite is true. Most doctors welcome a second opinion. And many health insurance companies will pay for a second opinion if you or your doctor requests it. Some companies require a second opinion.

If you get a second opinion, the doctor may agree with your first doctor’s diagnosis and treatment plan. Or the second doctor may suggest another approach. Either way, you’ll have more information and perhaps a greater sense of control. You can feel more confident about the decisions you make, knowing that you’ve looked at your options.

It may take some time and effort to gather your medical records and see another doctor. In many cases, it’s not a problem to take several weeks to get a second opinion. The delay in starting treatment usually won’t make treatment less effective. To make sure, you should discuss this delay with your doctor. Some people with a brain tumor need treatment right away.

There are many ways to find a doctor for a second opinion. You can ask your doctor, a local or state medical society, a nearby hospital, or a medical school for names of specialists.

Also, you can request a consultation with specialists at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Symptoms Which Are Recent

Hypochondriacs, or those who worry excessively about their health, this is for you! A health condition that is fairly new, like a few days old and detected for the first time, is not likely to be cancer. Depending on what is the contributing factor, and how good is your immunity level the new condition may disappear soon.

Symptoms that are intermittent

If some health condition tends to come and go every now and then, its unlikely to be cancer. Cancer tends to show a constant set of symptoms that worsen over time, with a couple of new symptoms added over time.

However there are a few exceptions to this. For example, people suffering from bowel cancer tend to show diarrhoea and blood loss every now and then.

Young age

Cancer, be it of the bowel, lung, stomach or oesophagus generally strikes from the mid-30s onwards and this likelihood increases with age. Rarely do people below this age-group show signs of cancer. However there are exceptions, such as blood cancer, testicular cancer and cancer of the lymph nodes.

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There is a painful lump

Women have been told often that a lump in the breast could be a sign of breast cancer. This has created a wrong association between lumps and cancer. Please note, not all lumps are cancers and further cancerous lumps do not hurt always. The lump may have been caused by an infection or another factor. Meet a doctor and have a thorough check-up done to identify the condition.

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Diagnosing Malignant Brain Tumours

See your GP if you develop any of the symptoms of a malignant brain tumour, such as a persistent and severe headache.

Your GP will examine you and ask about your symptoms. They may also carry out a simple neurological examination .

If they suspect you may have a tumour, or they are not sure what’s causing your symptoms, you’ll probably be referred to a neurologist .

Brain Tumors In Children

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Brain tumors are the most common solid tumor in children and adolescents, affecting about 5,000 children in the U.S. each year. Several different types of brain tumors can occur in children, including astrocytomas , gliomas, ependymomas and medulloblastomas.

Learn more about brain tumors in children.

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Confusion Conditions: Is It A Brain Tumor Migraine Or Something Else

Symptoms of brain tumors can also be similar to those of other medical conditions, such as headaches and multiple sclerosis .

Most headaches do not signal the presence of a brain tumor, and experiencing a headache by itself is usually not a cause for concern.

However, signs that a headache could be a symptom of a brain tumor include:

  • persistent headaches, particularly if the person has no history of severe headaches
  • headaches that increase in intensity over time
  • headaches that are worse in the morning
  • headaches that wake people up from sleep

If a person experiences frequent or severe headaches, they may have migraine, tension, or cluster headaches. These can also create feelings of nausea.

Symptoms of migraine can range from mild to severe and include:

  • nausea, which may worsen with activity
  • a throbbing sensation on one side of the head
  • increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • facial pain
  • communication difficulties
  • changes in personality or behavior

A doctor will take a full medical history and perform a range of neurological tests to see what is causing the symptoms. For example, they may:

  • run CT scans or MRI scans, to provide an image of the brain
  • conduct tests to check balance, vision, and coordination

Also, if they locate a tumor in the brain, they may take a tissue sample, or biopsy, to find out what type it is.

Everything Else You Need To Know

What causes a tumor? Schwartz says some genetic disorders can lead to brain tumors. “But the majority of tumors arise in people with no known risk factors or predisposing factors,” he explains. Children and adults over 60 are more likely to develop tumors, but “everyone is at risk at any age,” he adds.

Despite what you may have heard, cell phones are not a known risk factor. “That’s a common misconception, but there’s no compelling evidence that pushes us to consider a link between cell phones and tumors,” he says.

For large or malignant brain tumors, treatments could involve surgery, medications, radiation, or chemotherapy. The good news: Not all brain tumors are serious. “Many tumors are small and benign, and require no treatment,” Schwartz explains. “If we find one, we’ll just monitor it for growth or changes.”

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How A Brain Tumor Is Diagnosed

A brain tumor can be diagnosed using imaging tests that view the structure of the brain, along with a biopsy, which can carefully assess a sample of a suspected brain tumor under a microscope. Generally, before these tests are ordered, a physical examination is done to determine whether there are neurological changes that suggest the presence of a brain tumor. In the end, diagnosis of a brain tumor can involve an MRI, CT scan, blood tests, lumbar puncture, and biopsy.

There are several types of brain tumors, and some are cancer, which grows quickly and can invade nearby tissue, while some are not. These diagnostic tests can help a healthcare provider tell whether or not a person has a brain tumor and, if present, what type of brain tumor it is.

Personality And Behaviour Changes

10 Warning Signs You Have A Brain Tumor
  • Behaviour changes often depend on the location of the tumour in the brain. Tumours in the frontal, temporal and parietal lobes can affect behaviour.

  • Frontal lobe: movement, intelligence, reasoning, behaviour, memory, personality, planning, decision making, judgment, initiative, inhibition, mood.

  • Temporal lobe: speech, behaviour, memory, hearing, vision, emotions.

  • Parietal lobe: intelligence, reasoning, telling right from left, language, sensation, reading.

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Brain Or Spinal Cord Tumor Biopsy

Imaging tests such as MRI and CT scans may show an abnormal area that is likely to be a brain or spinal cord tumor. But these scans cant always tell exactly what type of tumor it is. Often this can only be done by removing some of the tumor tissue in a procedure called a biopsy. A biopsy may be done as a procedure on its own, or it may be part of surgery to remove the tumor.

Sometimes, a tumor may look so characteristically obvious on an MRI scan that a biopsy is not needed, especially if the tumor is in a part of the brain that would make it hard to biopsy . In rare cases a PET scan or MR spectroscopy may give enough information so that a biopsy is not needed.

The 2 main types of biopsies for brain tumors are:

Brain Tumor Causes And Risk Factors

Doctors donât know why some cells begin to form into tumor cells. It may have something to do with a personâs genes or his or her environment, or both. Some potential brain tumor causes and risk factors may include:

  • Cancers that spread from other parts of the body
  • Certain genetic conditions that predispose a person to overproduction of certain cells
  • Exposure to some forms of radiation

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What Are The Grades For Benign And Cancerous Brain Tumors

Doctors group brain tumors by grade. The grade of a tumor refers to the way the cells look under a microscope:

  • Grade I: The tissue is benign. The cells look nearly like normal brain cells, and they grow slowly.
  • Grade II: The tissue is malignant. The cells look less like normal cells than do the cells in a Grade I tumor.
  • Grade III: The malignant tissue has cells that look very different from normal cells. The abnormal cells are actively growing .
  • Grade IV: The malignant tissue has cells that look most abnormal and tend to grow quickly.

Cells from low-grade tumors look more normal and generally grow more slowly than cells from high-grade tumors . Over time, a low-grade tumor may become a high-grade tumor. However, the change to a high-grade tumor happens more often among adults than children.

What You Need To Know About Hair Loss

How Can You Tell If Your Cat Has A Brain Tumor

If your condition is not due to a hormonal imbalance, your doctor may recommend treatment that includes topical corticosteroids. Topical corticosteroids may lead to red or puffy face and can reduce your immune systems ability to fight infection. In some cases, fungal infections, such as tinea capitis, can lead to hair loss. Fortunately, you can take antifungal medications to treat it and get a full head of hair again.

Hair loss is a normal part of aging, and there is no need to worry. In fact, it is perfectly normal for most people to lose a bit of hair every day, and it will grow back eventually. Some men and women experience hair loss as they age, while others simply have a genetic predisposition to the problem. If youre experiencing a lack of hair, you may have a weakened immune system, which can lead to hair loss.

For more severe cases of hair loss, a dermatologist may recommend a hair transplant. This procedure involves a surgeon removing plugs of hair from your scalp. It may take several hours and multiple sessions to complete the process. Its an invasive treatment, and may not be the best option for everyone. Your doctor will need to examine your scalp to determine the cause of your condition. In addition to a healthy diet, your doctor may recommend taking supplements of various vitamins and minerals.

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How Are Brain Tumors Treated

Typical treatments for benign and malignant brain tumors include:

  • Observation through imaging such as MRI scans at certain intervals
  • Surgery to remove part or all of the tumor
  • Radiation therapy that kills cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy that kills cancer cells or stops them from growing or spreading
  • Clinical trials when available

Treatment doesnt stop after a certain procedure, Dr. Landolfi says. Brain tumors always need to be followed with scans.

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.

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